The holiday season is quickly approaching. If you’re not already planning, then you’ll have a lot of catching up to do! After years of experience in selling private label products, specifically during the holidays, we know the problems you’ll run into as you prepare for the season. That experience has also given us the answers you need as you begin your planning.
1. The Chinese Holidays Put a Damper on Deliveries
If your products are sourced in China, you may already be in trouble. The Chinese holidays begin in October and don’t end until March. That means you could run into some issues having your products delivered to the United States.
During the year, Chinese workers live near their place of employment. That factory is often far from their hometown. That means they’re gone for long stretches of time. Sometimes they don’t even return to their jobs after the holidays! By keeping the following schedule in mind, you can plan for delays and get your product delivered in time.
- January: New Year’s Day, 3 day calendar holiday > plan for 4-5 days of delays
- Jan/Feb: Chinese New Year, 1 week calendar holiday > plan for 3-4 weeks of delays
- April: Qing Ming Festival, 3 day holiday > plan for 4-5 days
- May: Labor Day, 1 day holiday > plan for 3 days
- May/June: Dragon Boat Festival, 3 day holiday > plan for 4-5 days
- Sept/Oct: Mid- Autumn Festival, 3 day holiday > plan for 5-6 days
- October: Golden Week, 1 week holiday > up to 2 weeks off (sometimes overlaps with mid-Autumn Festival)
It’s not too late to contact your suppliers and stock up, but start right away so you don’t encounter more delays that could affect your sales once Black Friday arrives. Make special note of the toughest dates to get around, which actually start right now, in October. Between now and December, you’ll need to order early and in larger numbers than usual to ensure you’ll have enough product to deliver to buyers.
2. You’re Already Late to the Marketing Table
While it may seem a little too soon to start posting your marketing PPC and social media campaigns to drive customers to your ecommerce site or Amazon store, it’s not too late to start planning and strategizing.
Do you know your most powerful search terms? Are you prepared to increase your PPC budget to beat out your competitors? Have you already created your marketing materials? Do you have some alternate campaigns ready in case your first choice doesn’t resonate with buyers?
Start researching your competitors to discover which keywords they’re using. Plan a bigger budget right away that you can put into effect when Black Friday arrives. You’ll need that budget for PPC and promoted posts to carry you through the entire month of December, too.
3. Amazon Sets Limits on New Sellers
If you’re hoping to open an Amazon store before the holidays, get started right now. Amazon has a deadline for new sellers before the holiday rush begins, and that deadline is today. If you’re not already set up to sell FBA, then you can’t have shipments delivered until December 19, 2017.
With some fast planning and thinking, you could still make some sales for the holiday season, but your best bet is to regroup and start your Amazon store after the holiday season ends. While you might miss out on some sales, it’s better to be fully prepared for the 2018 season than to disappoint customers when their packages don’t arrive in time to place under the tree.
4. Are You Ready for Shipping All Those Purchases?
If you sell your private label products through Amazon, then your shipping options are covered. If, however, you have launched your own online store or work with a drop-shipping provider, you may have no idea the effect the holidays will have on your shipping schedule.
Not only must you make sure you have options that get products to your buyers quickly during the holiday season, that shipping must also be affordable. When buyers are surprised by a huge shipping cost on top of the cost of the product they’re purchasing, they’re more likely to abandon their shopping carts.
Go ahead and research all your shipping options so that you can be ready for the big rush. Offer bundling discounts to buyers so they can receive several gifts in one package to save money for you and for them. Pick up extra packing materials now so that you don’t waste time in long lines at the post office or at UPS and FedEx buying boxes and packing tape. You’ve got this!
5. Current Events and Pop Culture Tank Promotions
For all your planning with your marketing content, things can sometimes go awry. This is especially true with the proliferation of social media and sharing. Your clever marketing slogans and copy could take on a different tone with anything that hits the news.
We’ve seen it time and again as cute copy turns into a social media faux pas. Even something so simple as misunderstanding the context of a popular hashtag can get you into trouble. Be sure you research everything before creating your marketing content.
Even if you’ve planned ahead with your marketing content, look every day to make sure you’re not hitting a sour note with your headlines, taglines, hashtags, and images. What’s perfectly innocent today could cause outrage tomorrow. You can avoid this misstep as long as you’re vigilant.
It is possible to overcome these in time for the holidays, but you’ll need to get started right away. Contact your suppliers, get your shipping options ready to go, and start marketing now! As always, we’re here to help if you need us. You can also join our private Facebook group to get answers from us and other private label professionals.